Dry hopping your beer is one of the easiest ways to make a good beer great and is supper simple to do! At this point I dry hop any Pale Ale or IPA that I brew. It does not make the beer more bitter but instead gives the impression of hoppyness and freshness with fragrant hop aroma. To dry hop your beer, wait until fermenation has completed and CO2 is no longer being generated. The reason for this is so that the escaping CO2 does not carry away the hop aroma with it because you want those odors to stay in contact with the recently fermented beer. I use either whole hops or pellet hops for dry hopping but prefer to use whole hops if available. Depending on the beer I will add between 2oz to 6oz per 5 gallon batch ( I typically go with 2oz, but my Pliny the Elder recipe calls for 5oz). I leave the hops in contact with the fermented beer for approximately 5-7 days and then either transfer to keg or cold crash for another 2 days. The process is that simple and I encourage you to try it on your next hoppy beer batch. When you pour your first pint focus on the aroma and if possible compare it to a batch of homebrew that you did not dry hop to see the difference!
Lately, with the trend of craft breweries moving towards ultra hoppy, high IBU IPA’s; home brewers need to be on their game if they want their home brewed beer to stand up to what the breweries are releasing. One of the greatest advantages that a home brewer has over a craft brewery is freshness. As beer ages the potency of hop bitterness and aroma diminishes and that is accelerated by heat and oxidation. Since a home brewer does not need to contend with their beer sitting in a hot warehouse during distribution or having the sun beat down on their bottles in a stores showcase, you should do your best to take advantage of your beers freshness. Always do your best to store your beer in a cool dark place if possible.
Whole Citra Hops
Another way to make the most of your IPA’s freshness is to dry hop. The reason a brewer dry hops their beer is to impart the beer with fragrant and fresh hop aroma. Since the beer is cool when the hops are added, the oils from the hops will not be infused with the beer and they will pass on little to no bitterness. Dry hopping is typically conducted once primary fermentation has completed and the hops are typically left in contact with the beer for between 7 and 14 days. The hops are usually added after primary fermentation has completed so that less CO2 is being produced and the hop aroma can stay in contact with the beer as opposed to being carried out of the fermentor with the escaping CO2. I personally like to use whole hops for dry hopping, but pellet hops can be used as well. When the beer is ready to be transferred to a keg or bottle, the beer is siphoned as normal and the hops are left behind in the fermentor to be discarded. I typically add about 2 ounces of hops for every 5 gallons of beer, but more can be added if desired.
Dry hop, dry hopping, or dry hopped beer is beer that has had hops added to it during fermentation as a way of increasing hop aroma. Dry hopping is typically conducted in secondary fermentation or after primary fermentation has completed to help assure that the aroma stays in the fermenter as opposed to being pushed through the airlock with the escaping CO2.
When dry hopping, little to no bitterness is added to the fermenting beer, as the alpha acid resin is relatively insoluble in a fermenting beer at that temperature. The process of dry hopping typically lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Some brewers report that their beer acquires a grassy flavor if it is allowed to dry hop for more than a week or so. If grassy off flavors are a concern, you can always add additional hops for a shorter duration of time to achieve the desired dry hop aroma.
Dry hopping in a secondary fermentation keg. Whole hops are used in this case, but pellet or plug hops may also be used.
Dry hop, dry hopping, dry hopped beer in a secondary fermenter.